The government has released a report on trends in infrastructure and transport to 2030.

20 March 2014 — The Federal Government has released a report into the outlook for Australia’s infrastructure and transport sectors to 2030.

Trends: Infrastructure and Transport to 2030 collates information from a range of government departments to provide an indication of the most significant impacts on the infrastructure and transport sector through to 2030, including:

  • economic conditions, trends in the global economy and the outlook for the Australian economy
  • infrastructure investment trends
  • Australia’s transition, including industry, demographic and spatial changes
  • modal trends in the movement of goods and people
  • regulatory trends for the portfolio
  • challenges and opportunities such as energy efficiency, climate change and technological innovation

“Trends draws together facts and figures that have not before been published in one document,” infrastructure minister Warren Truss said.

“It provides analysis and forecasts of the most significant impacts on the infrastructure and transport sector, drawing on research by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, along with information from other government and industry sources.”

Some interesting points made in the report include that:

  • the number of trucks on Australian roads will increase by 50 per cent, rail freight by two-thirds and shipping containers through Australian ports will double by 2030
  • international and domestic travel through Australian capital city airports will almost double over the same period
  • Australia only cover 25-30 per cent of public transport cost through fares, with outer suburb trips recovering less than 10 per cent, much lower than a number of international systems
  • Telework could add $3.2 billion to GDP and create 25,000 jobs by 2020-21

Aside from a brief mention of the importance of improving energy efficiency, stating that “changes in climate” could damage infrastructure assets and the productivity benefits of technology, trends towards sustainable or resilient infrastructure investment are not canvassed.

Neither is there mention of high-speed rail, which is to be covered in-depth in an upcoming Beyond Zero Emissions report.

“The Australian Government is getting on with the business of linking infrastructure financing, investment and reform with productivity,” Mr Truss said.

“Mapping Australia’s infrastructure direction has never been more important. We are an infrastructure government that is determined to boost Australia’s productivity and competitiveness.

“It will be up to all governments and industry to ensure the right policies, initiatives and programs are in place to manage demand, capitalise on opportunities and strengthen Australia’s international competitiveness.”

The release comes off the back of a recent Productivity Commission draft report on public infrastructure, which found that there was need for a comprehensive overhaul of processes in the assessment and development of public infrastructure projects.

“Governments have it in their power to attract higher levels of private infrastructure investment, and to improve their own capacity to fund infrastructure, even in the presence of apparent borrowing constraints,” said Peter Harris, presiding commissioner and Productivity Commission chair said at the time of the draft report’s release.

“They can do this through the judicious use of pricing mechanisms and by collectively establishing stronger transparent processes for project identification, selection, design and implementation.

“A visible project pipeline should naturally emerge from adoption of these reforms.”

Pursuit of these reforms could save more than $1 billion dollars a year, the Commission stated.

See the Trends report.